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27Apr/100

An initial impression of “Breath of Death VII : The Beginning” for the Xbox 360

xboxboxart The reason I’m writing THIS instead of a full out review is because I’m kind of stuck in a part of the game and kind of need to start over again. Although that’s not a bad thing against the game, it’s more my inability to play RPGs … I have only played two RPGs to completion my entire life and those are the original Dragon Warrior for the NES and Super Mario RPG. Why have I only finished that many? Because I don’t typically like RPGs that much. They’re entirely too long and too repetitive. I don’t like all the little subtleties in them and I hate grinding with a passion.

Unfortunately, this game seems to require some grinding because the place I’m at in the game my entire party can just BARELY make it through the REGULAR battles in this particular dungeon … let along stand a snowball’s chance in hell against the boss of this area. So I have elected to grind the hell out of the overworld before I really start on any of the actual story points, which you don’t have to worry about my spoiling … because it DOES have a story that I’m not even going to get into here. From what I can tell so far, it’s not going to win any awards, but it has made me laugh a few times which is always a good thing because there aren’t many games that LITERALLY make me laugh storywise.

screen2_Web I’ll start off with the overall presentation so far. The graphics in this game are just flat out AWESOME. The whole game is done in a very deliberate 8 bit style that I personally absolutely love. Though it’s not totally 8 bit … imagine the original Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy games on the NES with the color palette of the SNES. Everything is very simple in animation and tile based, but the amount of detail in this pixel art is astonishing when you consider the style. Everything is in high definition, bright, colorful and smooth. When you get into one of the random battles (yes, the entire game is old school in style) it switches over to a black screen with just still pictures of the enemies that are drawn extremely well. When you hit them, they just flicker for a second and that’s about it. But aside from the well drawn enemies, the battles are a little TOO simplistic graphically. And some of the character portraits themselves honestly kind of suck. But those are small gripes on an otherwise graphically gorgeous game. The sound effects are done in that same 8 bit style like you would expect to hear out of the NES. Simplistic, but perfectly suited to the game. I don’t know if the authors of this game did the music themselves or got it off of the site that is named in the credits. But kudos to whoever did the music because it’s great. But there’s not a whole lot OF it … I heard the same track repeated in several different areas … and while it IS good it does get a little old.

screen1_Web I won’t get too much into the battle system for this game because of the nature of this particular article and my complete lack of knowledge on the subject. I will say that it’s extremely simple to figure out and has a fair amount of depth in it’s simplicity. You can do regular old attacks, “Tech” attacks or magic attacks that do various things. Along with the typical spells that heal your characters or remove unwanted affects during battle. But on that same note, after every single battle your entire party, dead or alive, is COMPLETELY healed. Depending on how you like your RPGs that may be a good or bad thing, that’s entirely a personal choice in the matter. I personally love it because it helps to keep up the pace of the game. Now, mind you, right now I’m merely playing the game on Normal because in a game like this I save the other game modes and difficulties for after I either beat the game or at least get far enough along in it where I’m comfortable writing an actual review. Which … there’s a Score Attack mode that’s only unlocked after one beats the game anyway where you fight against bosses while underleveled.

screen3_Web There ARE some problems with it that I’ve encountered. Mostly to do with the way the dialog is handled. You can naturally talk to NPCs that are wandering around doing their thing … but there were a few instances, for example, where I had talked to an NPC who mentioned a character. Then later on that character was part of my party, so when I went back and talked to that NPC again, they said the exact same line. And another instance where one of my party members said something about an area like we were IN that area … but were weren’t anywhere near it. Now, those are major gripes of course, but it was a little weird.

screen4_Web So far, from what I’ve played, this is worth every single point of the 80 points it costs and is by far one of the most impressive games that has hit the indie games service on the 360. Awesome style, great music (though I wish it were just a little more varied), makes fun of all the retarded aspects of RPGs without actually DOING them (aside from the grinding thing … which seems to be what I need to do to be able to make it through the area that I’m in), multiple save slots is always a plus for a game like this. And definitely one of the longer indie games on the service since most of them seem to last about 20 or 30 minutes. This BOASTS 4 to 6 hours of play. I would imagine someone who is BETTER at RPGs will make it through in around that time … since I’m so unfamiliar with them this relatively short (by comparison) RPG will probably take me twice as long. :)

But yeah … just go and get it. I’ll eventually get a real review of it up on here, but this game is too good for me to just say nothing until I finish it. That’s the reason for this particular article. Even if you don’t LIKE RPGs (like me) this is damned well worth getting.

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